Buddhist film fest in KW

“Living is an art to be learned” was the theme of the sixth annual Buddhist Film Festival held on Saturday.

Housed at the Waterloo Adult Recreation Centre, the festival showcased three diverse films, a vegetarian buffet dinner, door prizes and a night of unique and engaging entertainment.

The much anticipated community event was presented by the Waterloo Riverview Dharma Centre, a registered charitable organization that relies primarily on the funds raised at the festival to sustain their programs and services.

With over 120 tickets sold, the film festival attracted members from both the Buddhist Sangha (the Dharma Centre Buddhist Community) and curious community members.

Dharma Centre spiritual co-ordinator Susan Child said there were a number of interested people who found their way to the event.

“I see many unrecognizable faces tonight, which is great. Most aren’t Buddhist; it’s just people sharing a common interest,” explained Child.

The first showing was the Telly award-winning film With One Voice. Strangely, there was nothing inherently “Buddhist” about the film.

Directed by California native Eric Temple, the documentary-style film brings together mystics from 14 spiritual and religious traditions to share their thoughts on universal truths such as the nature of life, love and the existence of God.

With One Voice suggests that all the world’s problems are one, a result of the loss of connection and ignorance.

It suggests appreciating the diversity of spirituality, as before we can find an outer “world” peace, we must each find peace within ourselves.

The night’s second screening was Buddha’s Lost Children.

Directed by Mark Verkerk, it was the 2009 winner for Best Spiritual Film and Best Spiritual Documentary at the European Film Festival.

Set in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, a high crime and drug infested region, Phra Khru Bah Neua, a former Thai boxer turned Buddhist monk devotes his life to supporting the region’s orphaned and impoverished children.

The evening ended on a lighter note with the Doris Dorrie directed film How to Cook Your Life.

Following the common phrase “you are what you eat,” Zen Master Edward Espe Brown serves as both a charismatic leader and chef.

With a general tone of thoughtfulness lingering in the air, the festival proved to be a success.

Child was pleased to say that the festival has increased in turnout every year.

“The first annual film festival was held in my living room, so we are happy to have it grow with the general community,” Child explained, adding that the festival fulfilled its mandate this year.

“The purpose behind the festival beyond fundraising is to promote knowledge of meditation and the dharma within the community.

“We encourage everybody to come out and learn.”